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WDW Shopping Sleuth: The Big Apple Comes to Orange County

Angela Ragno

Angela is the Walt Disney World shopping queen.

WDW Shopping Sleuth: The Big Apple Comes to Orange County

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You know, you really gotta wonder how well Disney's new 5th Avenue Store is doing?

Don't me get wrong. I haven't yet been to the NYC "World of Disney" in person. But -- based on what I've read here at this website -- it sounds like a really snazzy store. So I'll definitely make a point of visiting the place the next time I'm in the Big Apple.

But -- that said -- you still have to wonder how the 5th Avenue store is doing. Given how much of that oh-so-exclusive NYC "World of Disney" merchandise has begun turning up down here in Orlando.

Photo by Angela Ragno

Don't believe me? Then the very next time you're down at Disney World, take a drive over to the Orlando Premium Outlets. (It's not that far a trip, folks. It's actually right off of Exit 68 on I-4. The very same exit you'd take if you were heading to Hotel Plaza Boulevard and/or the Crossroads shopping center. Only instead of bearing right toward Disney property, you then take the left at the bottom of the ramp onto 535. Head under I-4 until you reach Vineland Avenue. Then take a left and follow Vineland as it curves around. The Orlando Premium Outlets mall will be on your right within moments. )

Once you're there, make your way to the mall's Character Premiere Shop. Here, you'll find tons of discounted Disneyland and Walt Disney World merchandise. Not that cheap Disney knock-off stuff that you'll find for sale out in those shops along I-Drive. But really-for-real Disney stuff. Toys, t-shirts, glasses, coffee mugs that were all on sale at the resorts and the theme parks until just recently.

Photo by Angela Ragno

And into that mix now comes all of this NYC "World of Disney" store stuff. Shirts that originally sold at the 5th Avenue store for $40 -- like the Mouse-ears wearing beagle pictured above and/or that one that featured Jessica Rabbit along with cab driver Mickey that Jim once blithered about in a column -- are now going for $9.99. Beautiful ladies leather jackets that once went for $249 were now on sale for $99.00.

There are bargains galore to be found here, folks. But who knows how long these items from the Big Apple will linger here in Orange County? So, the next time you're at Disney World and want to pick up some unusual souvenirs for friends & family back home, be sure to head on over to the Character Premiere Shop at the Orlando Premium Outlet mall. Where you'll be able to find authentic "World of Disney" merchandise for less-than-NYC prices.

Photo by Angela Ragno

What's that? Oh, you're one of those folks who -- once you're at Disney World -- doesn't like leaving property. That's okay. There are still bargains to be found on property. That is -- of course -- if you know the right place to look.

Take -- for example -- WDW's own "World of Disney" store at Downtown Disney. They currently have a promotion going on (No cast member that I asked could tell me when exactly this promotion was going to end) where -- if you make a $75.00 purchase -- you get a FREE lithograph.

That's right. Something for free at Disney World. Who woulda thunk it?

Anyway ... This litho is actually quite attractive. It shows Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy riding in the front of the monorail. And all around the Fab Four, you have classic Disney characters like Pinocchio & Peter Pan as well as WDW icons like Spaceship Earth and the Tree of Life. And -- best of all -- the litho comes in a beautiful black Mickey frame.

Photo by Angela Ragno

"How nice is this frame?," you ask. So nice that I decided: "To hell with the litho.I just want the frame." The only problem is ... The cost of the frame all by itself was (surprise, surprise) $75.00. So, no matter how hard I tried, Disney was going to make me go home with a "free" copy of that WDW litho.

I guess I really shouldn't complain. I mean, the frame is great. And the lithograph is nice. It's just that ... Disney seems to be pushing this "World of Disney" promotion awfully hard. The Mouse has cast members at every entrance to the store talking up this "free" litho. With additional WDW employees actually walking around inside the "World of Disney," carrying copies of the lithograph that they then use in their sales pitch. Which (to me, anyway) seems like overkill.

But -- at the same time -- it really is a beautiful frame. One that actually would fit another litho that I have at home right now. Which is why -- over the next week or so -- I may find myself back over at WDW's "World of Disney." Spending another $75 on stuff I don't need just so I can get a "free" litho as well as another Mickey frame.

Photo by Angela Ragno

And -- while I'm over at Downtown Disney -- I'll be sure & keep an eye on what's going on with the renovation of WDW's Lego Store. Which is currently slated to re-open sometime in the Spring.

But you know Mickey. He doesn't like missing out on any potential monies that he can make off of tourists visiting Walt Disney World. Which is why the Mouse is right now actually selling LEGO merchandise out of a temporary merchandise location (I.E. a tent) set up in the middle at Downtown Disney.

I have to admit that I laughed when I first saw this place. But the WDW guests who were inside this temporary merchandise location were deadly serious. They were snatching up LEGO sets left and right. So maybe Disney was right to set up this tent right in the middle of Downtown Disney.

Anywho ... Here's hoping that the next incarnation of WDW's LEGO Store is as much fun to visit (and photograph) as the original.

That's it for today, folks. In the weeks ahead, I'll continue my sleuthing around Orlando. As I try & find JHM readers the very best bargains to be had during their next Disney World vacation.

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